Bradenton is Friendliest runner-up as picked by Rand McNally voters selected
BRADENTON -- The Friendly City isn't the Friendliest City, but darn close.
Randy McNally announced its Best of the Road winners Thursday, which included six categories of the Best Small Towns. For Friendliest City, Bradenton was named a runner-up. The winner was Kewanee, Ill., east of Davenport, Iowa.
Bradenton also joined runners-up Macon, Ga.; Murray, Ky.; and Keokuk, Iowa. While Bradenton's been nicknamed The Friendly City since the 1930s, it didn't help the votes.
The winners were determined by online votes and social media engagement, and because Bradenton was a finalist, had to enter a video, as well as an essay.
The contest was sponsored by RV club Good Sam and Geocaching.com, and focused on cities with populations of 150,000 or less and could only be in the contiguous 48 states (sorry, Hawaii and Alaska). Voting ended Sept. 3.
Bradenton was entered in last year's contest, but did not win. This year, Rand McNally sent the visitors bureau an email reminding staff to enter Bradenton in the contest.
The visitor's bureau enlisted the help of the city of Bradenton to get the word out, having Mayor Wayne Poston star in a video touting the city.
Another Gulf Coast city also received accolades. Punta Gorda was named runner-up for Most Beautiful city, losing out to Jefferson City, Mo. The only other Florida city recognized in the contest was Merritt Island, a runner-up for Geocaching.
For more and to watch the video, visit bradenton-herald-business.blogspot.com.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter@ImYourChuck.